One thing I love about the wonderful world of technology is the refresh button. 

Just hit “refresh” and you are, so to speak, refreshed. 

Today I hit the “refresh” button and I was refreshed to a day back about four years ago. 

Yes, what you are about to read if you so decide is a refreshed column. I didn’t say “recycled” or “repeated.” I said “refreshed.” Yes, I love the wonderful world of technology. 

So, why am I refreshing? I was reading through a collection of my columns recently and decided I would refresh something from a day gone by. I won’t trick you often with something from my rich past, but occasionally, I just may give it a try. 

Here’s a little educational piece I wrote.


Being a tad advanced in age -- mature, in other words -- does have some advantages. 

If you’re older than many folks at your worksite, for example, you could impress your workmates by spouting important facts that younger people just don’t know. 

I sometimes become quite impressed with myself when I realize I know some things that many other people don’t know. Then, I’m not so impressed with myself when I realize that I know what I know because I’m older than they are. 

The young and the mature, we are from different worlds. Yes siree Bob. 

I’m writing about this today because yesterday, while visiting with some co-workers in this newspaper‘s advertising department, I for some reason mentioned the name of a dessert treat from my childhood. 


I drew some blanks stares and questions. And I even see some blank stares from some of you who are hearing this word for the very first time. 

“What’s mellorine?” one or two or more of my co-workers asked. 

I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t know what mellorine was. 

Then I went through the newspaper office asking people, “Do you know what mellorine is?” 

Finally, I found someone with beautiful white hair who said, “Of course I know what mellorine is” 

Mature people are so smart. 

Then, they started asking me a question. 

“What is mellorine?“ they asked. 

I realized that even I couldn’t give a textbook definition, only that it was an ice cream-type substance or artificial ice cream. 

Then, I described what I could remember about what could be called “old food.” 

The available flavors were vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Of course, neapolitan was also available. Mellorine came in containers that I believe were called squares, even though they’re rectangular. And the carton was always sticky because somebody in the family never closed the carton properly. Thank God for the modern-day tubs and those easy pop on and pop off lids. 

While standing there with my friends, I went straight to the Internet on my iPhone. Yes, some of us mature people are trying to stay afloat in this sea of technology. 

Here’s the Wikipedia definition: 

“Mellorine is a lower cost alternative to ice cream, wherein other fats are used instead of butterfat. It can be made from both animal fat and vegetable fat. 

“Mellorine is produced by freezing, while stirring a pasteurized mix of milk-derived nonfat solids and animal or vegetable fat (or both). Afterward, it is battered by a carbohydrate sweetener and the addition of flavoring ingredients. 

“Mellorine was a product of necessity after World War II. Southern states that produced wartime goods made of cotton, cotton meal, and cotton seed oil suddenly found that their cottonseed oil products were no longer being used in quantity by the military. Cottonseed oil found peacetime use in salad dressings, mayonnaise, and in the ice-cream” substitute mellorine.” 

I’m hopeful this educational moment has been helpful. Next week, or sometime in the future, we may explore other forms of exotic foods that were often served on our dinner plates or in our lunch boxes --— potted meat, fried Spam, fried bologna and TV dinners. 

But for now, remember this. If you want to impress some people at a future social gathering, or at least create some blank stares, just mention our magic word of the day: “Mellorine”.


Jim Hardin may be reached at

Recommended for you